“Age is an issue of mind over matter. If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter.” —Mark Twain
Ever get to thinking about your youth, your past. Oh those days, great times and equally great memories. Our society today is so geared to youth from politics to fashion to trends. Everything points to the younger members of our society. Everything we see just tells us to make room for them and just get out of the way. Youth. The young.
However, there is one area of life, possibly the most civilized part of our existence where youth is actually a detriment. That is in the making of wine. You know, some things take time. Some things still take patience, maturity. And age is the only provider of those qualities. The one process in winemaking that cannot be overlooked, the importance of which cannot be minimalized is…aging. Without that, you may as well be drinking grape juice. Now, all of that brings me to the subject of this column.
Evodia wine is a pure Garnacha harvested from older vines in the Sierra Santa Cruz in Calatayud, an appellation of the region of Aragon in Spain. This is a pretty small region in Spain but it is a major producer of Garnacha wines and if you just stand in the right place you can look in any direction and see these head pruned vineyards. Just to the north lies Campo de Borja, Navarra and Rioja Baja so the vineyards just go on and on and account for most of this wine sold around the world. Using the grapes harvested at higher elevations near the village of Atea, Evodia, a Greek word meaning “aroma,” was born.
While working on a project in Calatayud, Eric Solomon met Jean-Marc Lafage, a talented winemaker and consultant from France, and Yolanda Diaz, a native of the region. Together, they discovered the village of Atea at about 3300 feet above sea level. At this level the climate is temperate, averaging about 55 degrees with 18 inches of rain per year. But the days are warm and the nights are very cool even in the hottest months which gives the grapes a very hearty character with some thicker than normal skins helping them to survive and to become the real workhorse grape of the western Mediterranean. Some of the vines are a century old but seem to thrive in this environment.
With a nod to tradition 80% of the harvested grapes are destemmed while the rest are fully crushed with stems giving a more earthy feel to the wine. Fermentation begins in concrete barrels with fifteen days of maceration producing a balanced product with less oxidation. Roughly 20% of the wine is then aged in oak while the rest remains in the concrete. All this culminates with a product that is pleasing to the nose and the palate. Deep, Ruby red color with essence of raspberry and minerals.
Now, this wine has received much acclaim from the Wine Advocate and from independent critics. And this is where personal notes come in. I began this column by talking about youth, and here is how it ties together. While the aroma to me was pleasing and distinct, the flavor was a little on the yeasty side. I take that to mean that this 2019 vintage needs a little more time to really come into its own and fulfill its promise. I think that time, and time alone was the one missing ingredient. But this is what makes any wine experience just that, an experience. No matter the price, the vintage or the vintner, it is the person drinking the wine who has the final say. Taste, being as subjective as it is I guess, can depend slightly on one’s level of experience while personal preference also plays an important role.
That said, I would give this wine a personal rating of 6.5 grapes out of a possible yet unattainable 10. Sometime down the road I would probably try it again and see if time really does improve it.
Alcohol – 15%
Price – I saw it on line for $8 out of stock. If you actually want to buy it, expect to pay $14.